2020 Men's Gold Reports REPORTS

R1: Zahed up and down, as Nici…

R1: [16] Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI)  11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-6 (48m)

So hard for the players at the moment. No coaches, no audience or very few until later stages, starting earlier than normal (11am, that’s very early for them as there is a lot happening before they step on court). And it’s hard to have to do so well for every tournament as there are so few…

Also, they all lack match fitness. Winning is a habit as Malcolm Willstrop said. And the brain needs “constant consistency of positive thoughts” that only come with real match practice.

All that to say that both players today were up and down the whole match, both playing great rallies at time, both being dominant at times, and both playing not that great squash at times… Still, NIci played the right tactic, very fast pace to push Zahed out of his comfort zone, but would make the error at the end of long rallies..

Basically, in the three games that Zahed won, he was pretty comfy up and let Nici back in: 1st game, up 10/5, taking the game 11/8 in 16m, second game, up 10/4, only closing it down (and thanking God for it as he walked out of court) 14/12 on his 8th game ball – Nici having had his own chance at 11/10. 14m game, and not a single error from the Egyptian, 4 from Nici.

A bit of a let go from Zahed in the third after a not so good start, 5/1 for the Swiss, 10/4 11/6 in 6m. And the last game, bless Nici, 7 errors, 7/1 for Zahed, clawing back to 6/8 but bowing 11/6…


I’m happy to play again here in Egypt.

Nicky is a tough opponent. That’s the third time we’ve played together and it’s always tough and close. Last time I played was at the Pyramids and I couldn’t play Qatar, so it’s my first match in about a month and I’m happy to be through and to win in four.

I’m sure it’s tough for everyone and us as players, 2020 hasn’t been good at all. I had to keep myself positive, always training and look for more matches to play. It was tough but it’s good sometimes to be by yourself and recover. I’m grateful to play here and I hope I can play well.